Avoiding serious injuries is an important goal in preseason games and it is one that the Bengals failed to reach on Friday against the Jets.
Guard Travelle Wharton was lost for the season and two defensive starters, linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Carlos Dunlap, sprained knees before the game was five minutes old. Maualuga isn’t expected to miss much time, but coach Marvin Lewis said Sunday that Dunlap is going to be out a month as he recovers from his injury. That makes it three years in a row with truncated preseason work for Dunlap.
“I mean you can do all you want to prepare and prevent injuries but you can’t prevent all of them,” Dunlap said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “I feel like I am fully prepared for the ones I can’t control but it is still the game of football. There’s things that happen and now I have to do what I have to do to get back out there.”
If the timeline holds, Dunlap would miss the first weekend of the season. That would be a blow to the team’s front four, especially when it comes to generating the kind of pass rush that would take heat off an ailing secondary.
Adding to the injury woes in Cincinnati is the news that running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has a foot injury that will keep him out of Thursday’s game. Lewis said that there’s a chance that Green-Ellis could practice later in the week, which is pretty much the same outlook for Maualuga as he recovers from his knee injury.